Spend some time in the lounge of Nambiti Hills and you’re bound to find them. Somewhere, on one of the many coffee tables piled high with beautiful books about Africa, you will find two books featuring the photogaphy of Nambiti Hills manager, Kevin Lindquist. They have been lovingly put together by Kevin’s wife and Front of House Manager at Nambiti Hills, Gemma.
Kevin and I sit going through the books one evening and I’m blown away! There are some outstanding wildlife photos here worthy of being featured in such luminary magazines as National Geographic. As I ooh and aah in appreciation, Kevin sips his red wine and gives me the background to some of the photos.
When we first met, we chatted about photography and Kevin shared with me some of the photos he has on his iPad. He spoke then about wanting to get some new camera equipment. It’s a costly hobby but can pay itself off very nicely if you turn pro.
“So, Kevin, how’s your photography going?”
“Yeah.” (Half laughs.) “I’ve taken a few more photos. I haven’t had that much time. I’m kind of waiting to upgrade. It does need to pay for itself. It’s a lot of money to put into it. So I’m looking at doing some limited edition prints, try and see if I can sell those.”
We chat about creating books, specifically a book on Nambiti Hills and Nambiti Private Game Reserve. What a great idea! I’m sure that every guest at Nambiti Hills would want to get his or her hands on that one. I’m hoping Kevin will do me the honour of letting me write all the text for the book (Hint, hint, Kevin, if you’re reading this!).
“One thing I want to get into is the hospitality side of photography, do some nice décor shots and add that to my portfolio. I’d like to do a couple of weddings as well, it would be fun. I’ve got to get all my friends back into their wedding dresses so that I can photograph them!”
But back to what Kevin already does beautifully – shoot wildlife photographs. I continue to flick through the two coffee table books of Kevin’s work. (“Those were done in Holland , I think it was.” he says, referring to where they were printed and bound.)
I stop for awhile at a spread of photos that Kevin has taken of wild dogs.
“Yes, they do have fantastic hearing,” Kevin informs me, without my even asking.
“Are they still endangered?”
“Ja. They are so sensitive. They pick up diseases quite easily. In Madikwe they brought in a pack in 1996 and the entire pack was wiped out due to rabies.”
Then he tells me the most fascinating story I have ever heard about wild dogs!
“We had wild dogs here, apparently. But then they ended up back in Hluhluwe six months later. They took a walk. They broke out and walked back all the way to Hluhluwe. They just pitched up one day and broke into the reserve.”
To put this in perspective, Hluhluwe, the area from which the wild dogs originally came, is on the other side of the province of KwaZulu-Natal! I’m not good with distances, but in terms of the time it takes to travel, Nambiti is a good 3 hour drive west of Durban and Hluhluwe is roughly a 31/2 drive north. The distance between the game reserve of Nambiti and Africa’s oldest game park in Hluhluwe is considerable!
What fascinated me was the primal urge of these dogs to go home, no matter what the cost. They broke through the fence around Nambiti Private Game Reserve and went on an incredible journey. They must have had to cross freeways and charge through suburbia and townships to get there. Remarkable!
In Kevin’s photo, you see a pack of wild dogs out on the savannah with a rainbow behind them. Extraordinary. Kevin says it is very difficult to photograph them. He also claims they are “the most unphotogenic animals ever!”
Stored on Kevin’s external harddrive are thousands of photos, apparently. “I don’t like to throw them away because each photo means something to me.”
I turn another page of the book and come across a magnificent shot of an elephant.
I comment: “There’s something about an elephant. It’s like the age of centuries in the pattern of its skin.”
“What I really enjoy (and I think there’s a photo in there) is the elephant’s eye.” says Kevin.
I come across some fantastic photos that Kevin has taken of 10-15-year-old bull elephants.
“If you look at the muscle behind his ear,” Kevin informs me, “that tells you immediately that he’s not a young elephant – he’s a big bull.”
Good to know.